Since Fall 2003, a textbook was used in MAT220 (caculus I). For the last 4 years, handouts were created to supplement the textbook. This semester, students use only a workbook that I created. The purpose of this assessment is to document my observations in the level of engagement of students from using textbook only, slowly incorporating worksheets, to full implementation of a workbook. Most math textbooks are not designed to engage students, thus it was difficult to do so.
I administered a four question Pre-Post test in Spring 2012, Fall 2012 and Spring 2013. The Pre-Post test is attached for your reference. In Sp12 and Fa12, students showed great improvement from Pre to Post test, however in Sp13, the percentage improvement from pre to post test dropped drastically. Overall scores on the post test for 2012 were very high (see attached) and for Sp13 were low. There were two main differences from last fall to this spring that contributed to the lower Pre-Post test results.
While success rates are high in my calculus II courses (85-95%, depending on the semester), students struggle with integrating. In spring 2008, students were required to write "recipe cards" on integration techniques for trigonometric substitution and integrals involving trignometry. The average on the quiz was a 75%. Students presented their steps to the class and worked on these recipes as a group days before the quiz. In spring 2010, 2011, and 2012, I did not require students to create these cards; I highly recommended them, though.
Having taught MAT151 (College Algebra) in both Fall 2011 and Spring 2012, I noticed that a fair number of students were having difficulty understanding the concept of a function. Many failed to recognize how a function's output value varies in a predictable way based on changes to its input value, and most had a hard time connecting the geometric, tabular, verbal and equation representations of a function. Developing this understanding is critical to student success in MAT151 and subsequent math classes.
In the past I have used a program call MyMathLab (or MathXL) to test students understanding of mathematical concepts. One of the frustrations I always had was that students could use a "help me solve this" or "view an example" help tool to walk them through their assignments, but they never learned. This resulted in very high homework scores, but not as good of scores on the exams. For example, in Spring 2011, my students had a class average of 93.8% on the homework and 88% on the quizzes. However, their midterm average was only 80.7% and the final exam average was only 70.7%.
Pre-post testing will be done using the FCI to look at student understanding of Newton's laws. These will not be done for a grade as the assessment is written in common language so that it really probes student understanding. A score above 60% is considered the threshold of Newtonian thinking. A gain of 30% pre to post is considered a very good result from national studies done using this instrument.
EDU112 and MAT157 joined together for a Learning Community. In meeting course competencies for both courses, instructors developed then facilitated an Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) Project. Inquiry based learning starts with a team (in our case, partners), who have a legitimate, real-life inquiry into a situation where the solution is not readily apparent. It closely follows the model of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) but with required mathematical applications.